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CM to propose Medallion of Honour for Bhatti

Photo by Johnny Bugeja

Chief Minister Fabian Picardo said on Wednesday he would move a motion in the Gibraltar Parliament to bestow the Gibraltar Medallion of Honour on Dr Sohail Bhatti, the Director of Public Health, for his work during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The motion seeks to recognise Dr Bhatti’s “extraordinary contribution” over the past 18 months.

The announcement came a day after news that Dr Bhatti will leave the post of Director of Public Health at the end of this week after his contract was not renewed.

The Gibraltar Government said the decision not to renew his contract was part of a plan to ‘localise’ the role.

The Chief Minister told Parliament this week that the government had identified the next Director of Public Health, although it has not yet named the person publicly.

In the interim period, Dr Natalie Wright, a Public Health England consultant who has worked alongside Dr Bhatti since early last year, will cover the post.

Dr Bhatti led Gibraltar through the pandemic as Director of Public Health, advising on key decisions such as restrictions, lockdowns and public health measures such as masks.

The text of the motion states: “This House bestows the Gibraltar Medallion of Honour on Sohail Bhatti for his extraordinary contribution to the health and well-being of the People of Gibraltar in his role as Director of Public Health during the Covid Pandemic.”

Reacting to the news, Dr Bhatti tweeted: “Humbled & honoured by this nomination. I am but a sum of all the hard work carried out by clinical staff, CTB, support services such as the lab, swabbers, IC, PH, catering, domestics. And, the immense hard work of essential workers. And, the great people of Gib. And our leaders.”

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